abcabcabc » So you want to be a game developer! Project #1: Fire Hydrant

So you want to be a game developer! Project #1: Fire Hydrant

Posted on 12/8/2013 by with 2 comments

So you want to be a game developer

3D Modelling: the Basics

So finally let’s get into the meat of this and start the first project of the So you want to be a game developer series. Before we start I don’t  want to claim to be the world’s best 3D modeller, I am self-taught and if you follow along I’ll show you what I found out in my journey in 3D modeling.  I might have a different workflow than taught in art school, but this works and works very well.

I just hope that you take what you learn here and build on it as you experiment. As this series move along you will learn how I set up a project and everything I do to stay organized along the way.

3D Lingo

So let’s get started with some of a little bit of 3D modelling jargon that you should know before we start our first project.

3D Model: the basic 3d model can also be called a mesh, but I normally call it a model.

Polygon Modelling: Polygon modeling is nothing more than a model that is made up of polygons.  This is the type of modelling we will be doing on this series.


Vertex: Is a single point of a model. This is the basic building block of a model. A lot people just refer these as points.


Edge: Is made up of two points. It looks familiar to a seam.


Face: is at least 3 points of more a lot of time I refer to a face as a polygon.

Polygons: Polygon represent either 3 or 4 vertices. I will tell you later you want to focus on 4 side polygons most of the time. This won’t be the last time you hear this.

N Gons: Ngons are a polygon that for simplicity sake has more than 3 or 4 sides. These are to be avoided. You will see as you get deeper in to modelling that n gon’s are not good because they do not smooth or export properly.

I could go on for hours with this stuff let’s face it is boring, we need to set up a project and then we can really get started.


So you want to be a game developer: Project #1: Fire Hydrant

Tools Needed

Silo 3d: I will be using Silo 3d because it very easy to learn. Silo is great for a beginner because it doesn’t have a confusing layout like some other modelling programs.

Photoshop or equivalent. You could use the free tool gimp or MS Paint.

Unity Game Engine It’s free and a great tool


Here’s the scenario you are working with a team to create a fire fighting simulation for a local town to be used as a training tool at local schools. You have been issued the first job of creating a fire hydrant that will be used in the game.

We will create the base model, create some textures for it and then put it into the Unity game engine and see what it looks like.

First off we need some pictures to use as references and then we need to figure out what we need to build this model.

Reference Pictures

fire-hydrant-hiThis is the picture the team supplied us with from the art team.

For this you can go to Google images and search not really hard to find a bunch pictures, or there are a lot of royalty free picture site all over the net. Just do a search.

Now find 3-4 pictures that you can use while you model. Try to get from different angles so you fully understand what you looking at.

First steps in Silo 3D

As you open look around explore there really is nothing to be worried about the program is very forgiving to the beginner. Learn the toolbars and what they do, I will try to show as many tools as we go through these projects.

buttonsBy clicking on any of these tools you will see what each is if you look in the bottom left corner it will tell you what is selected.


When you open up Silo it should look something like this. If not don’t panic. Go up to the upper tab Display/Viewport Layout and click 4 port layout and it should look just like what I have above. The tool tabs on the right can be open from the Editor/Options tab at the upper tab. Just click to add what you want, You can add what you want or use none it’s up to you.

If you want to zoom in on one particular panel, just put cursor in that panel and hit space bar, hit space bar again and you will be returned to the 4 port layout.

Controlling what you’re seeing in the 3d space.

Zoom – Hold Alt and use scroll wheel to zoom in or out.

Pan- Hold Alt and hold middle mouse button or scroll. This is side to side view.

Rotate- Hold Alt and left mouse button to rotate around the 3d space.

I highly recommend to play with these because you need to use these command every time you model, it will become second nature soon.


Starting the model.


Lets start this model off by using our reference picture right in the modelling software. First let put our cursor in the front box and hit the space bar.


OK now lets put our picture in. Click display on the upper tab and go down to Set viewport image.


Once you click this you will get a familiar window to select the picture. Find it and load it and it should look something like what I have.


Now we want to scale it and move it a little bit.  First Alt and right mouse and use the scroll wheel to move in to get a closer look.


Next we want to scale the picture down some to make it easier to work with. So got the top tab menus and click Display and go down to Select viewport image. This will add a manipulator tool to picture so that we can scale it with. You might have to pick the scale tool button to get the correct manipulator tool.


To scale the picture all we need to do is click the scale tool button, then with mouse left click the middle of the manipulator tool (blue square bit), while held drag to the left or right to scale the picture. Im taking mine down to about 4 grip squares in height.







Now the picture is scaled lets begin making this model. since the base looks like a hexagon we’ll make that to start off. So got the create tab and find cylinder and click on the option tab. This will open an option tab with other toll bar on the right. We want to change the amount of sides (section) on the cylinder to 6 to create the base for our model.


Then hit the create button and our base will be created right at the center point of the grid, we now only need to move and scale it to fit the model. Now that you have create a piece of the model this is a good time to save, I can’t tell you should save your work very often. I try to save my work every time I make a major change to a model. If you don’t I guarantee you will lose you work sometime. It happens I have lost a lot of work over the time I have been modelling.

Go to File and save work as, recommend you create a folder for each model, because later we will have a lot of file for graphics and any other changes we make over time.

I know we haven’t made much progress, but this article is getting long so save your work we will pick up right here with our next So you want to be a game developer.

 Part 2 Here.

So you want to be a game developer! Is a weekly web series devoted to answering all the questions and everything about becoming a game developer.









2 responses to So you want to be a game developer! Project #1: Fire Hydrant

  1. On December 8th, 2013 at 6:07 pm , Kevin Gesterling said...

    This is very well explained and a great resource for beginners. Thank you for the blog.

  2. On December 8th, 2013 at 9:14 pm , Chris said...

    Thanks Kevin, I’m trying to make as easy as possible, because I know some tutorials can go to fast to soon.

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